Americana | A Continuous Lean. - Page 3

L.L. Bean Boat and Tote | The Summertime Sidekick.

Jun 3rd, 2014 | Categories: Americana, Jake Gallagher, Maine | by Jake Gallagher

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When you break it down, a summer weekend getaway comes down to three simple things: a sandy beach, a cold beer, and an L.L. Bean Boat and Tote. Okay, maybe you could toss a few other ingredients into that recipe (a bikinied lady co-pilot certainly wouldn’t hurt) but it’s hard to top the simplicity of just tossing a Boat and Tote into your trunk and taking off for the shore.





Andy Warhol and Brooks Brothers.

Jun 2nd, 2014 | Categories: Americana, Art, Jake Gallagher, Made in New York, Menswear | by Jake Gallagher

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Having clothed all manner of politicians, presidents, actors, and authors over the years, Brooks Brothers’ lifetime client roster reads like a veritable who’s who of American icons, but few names among that list stand out quite like Andy Warhol’s. As the ring leader of New York’s mid-century Pop Art explosion, Warhol does not immediately strike as the standard Brooks Brother’s customer, but throughout his fifty-eight years the artist remained one of the shop’s most dedicated clients, amassing a wardrobe that was almost entirely composed of Brooks Brothers staples.

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When Evel Came to Cooperville.

May 13th, 2014 | Categories: Americana, Jake Gallagher, Motorcycles, Motorsports | by Jake Gallagher

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Evel Knievel slides & film, 1972

Garrett Colton’s story begins like many others: a grandson travels home to visit his family and uncovers an heirloom. Only this story is a little bit different because Colton didn’t just discover a familial trinket, he unearthed a national treasure.

While Garrett only entered into this tale a couple years ago, the story really begins back in the early seventies when his grandfather Jack Cooper, an Oklahoma car dealer, met a salesman of a different nature. During a trip to Las Vegas, Cooper was introduced to Evel Knievel by a mutual friend, and the two men hit it off instantly. Knievel and Cooper were kindred spirits – middle American straight shooters with a taste for spectacle, and at the close of their meeting Knievel turned to his newfound friend and said, “I may just come to Oklahoma and jump your cars.” And just like that a few weeks later Knievel came rolling on into town.

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America’s “Forgotten” Vacation Destinations

Apr 11th, 2014 | Categories: Americana, Jake Gallagher | by Jake Gallagher

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Americans just don’t vacation like they used to. Cross country road trips, picturesque mountain resorts, and far off seaside towns have been replaced by “staycations,” transcontinental cruises, and brief weekend jaunts to the city. The glory days of Griswold-ian journeys, Borscht belt summers, and month long excursions across the midwest are now behind us, and in their wake many of America’s once mighty vacation destinations, such as the five spots below, have begun to fade off into obscurity.





Willy Vlautin Tells It Like It Is.

Mar 20th, 2014 | Categories: Al James, Americana, Books | by Al James

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Has the recent finale of HBO’s True Detective left you jonesing for more pulpy American grit? Do you like your heroes broken-hearted yet courageous, desperate but loyal? Does your hard luck story require just the thinnest beam of light to pierce the looming darkness? Then author Willy Vlautin is your guy.

A Reno, Nevada native, Vlautin moved North to Portland, Oregon in the nineties to paint houses. When he wasn’t up on the ladder he wrote and played in bands. He founded, and still fronts, Richmond Fontaine, one the most-loved rock bands to come out of the Northwest. Starting with The Motel Life in 2007, he has published four novels that fit on the shelf next to Steinbeck’s Cannery Row, Denis Johnson’s Jesus’ Son and Larry Brown’s Big Bad Love. Immensely talented company, but Vlautin’s work is at home with these greats.

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The Ralph Lauren Olympic Collection | A Conversation with Jeanne Carver

Jan 23rd, 2014 | Categories: A Conversation With, Americana | by Jake Gallagher

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Over the years on ACL, we’ve interviewed designers, shopkeepers, authors, and even a filmmaker, yet we’ve never spoken to anyone quite like Jeanne Carver. Carver is not some fresh-faced designer, nor is she an eccentric New York creative, in fact in our interview she never uttered the word “fashion,” and only mentioned “clothing” twice, under the most practical of terms. This is because Carver’s life exists roughly 2,850 miles removed from the frenzy that is New York City’s fashion industry, on The Imperial Stock Ranch, which has been raising sheep and cattle for over one hundred forty years.

Carver’s story is not a common one, after all, it was centurion ranches such as hers that helped to establish the western frontier back in the late 1800’s. What makes Carver (along with her husband Dan who also runs the ranch) so extraordinary, is that she was given a chance to have her story told. The wool trade is the largely ignored backbone of our entire clothing industry. We often highlight designers, factories, and shops, but these institutions represent the final steps of clothing production. Rarely, does anyone go to the source, and rarely is this source ever even considered.

Which is reason to applaud Ralph Lauren, who after recognizing their error in having past Olympic uniforms produced overseas, decided to take a concerted effort to produce this years U.S. Winter Olympic uniforms entirely in America. In doing so Ralph not only gave a fair amount of work to stateside textile factories and farms, which often go overlooked by large apparel corporations that are more interested in margin, but it also found people like Jeanne, people who embody the spirit of handwork and determination that our nation’s clothing industry was founded upon way back when. Ralph Lauren contacted Jeanne because the wool that she and her husband produce on their Shaniko, Oregon ranch is of an incredibly high quality, and was perfect for Ralph Lauren’s opening ceremony sweater, which is being unveiled today. I was fortunate enough to have a chance to speak with Jeanne to get her story, as well as her perspective on this U.S. made collection, and the state of America’s garment industry today.





The ACL Guide to Thanksgiving Wines.

Nov 27th, 2013 | Categories: Al James, Americana, Wine | by Al James

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Arriving to Thanksgiving dinner with a well-chosen bottle of wine is simply the right thing to do. It’s doesn’t have to be pricey or geeky, just take a little extra time to pick out a bottle that will work well with the food. No matter who’s cooking, the staples that make up a traditional Thanksgiving dinner – turkey, gravy, stuffing, potatoes, green bean casserole, etc – all land on the salty end of the flavor spectrum. Even when piled high on a plate, they don’t have the wherewithal to stand up to a big red wine (Cabernet, Merlot, Barolo, Chianti, Shiraz) which all contain significant tannins and high alcohol levels. In this case, bigger is not always better. What the savory flavors need, particularly in the case of turkey, is acidity and crispness to balance out the saltiness and brininess. Luckily there are lots of ways to achieve this balance with both New World and Old World wines that are widely available. I like the way food and wine blogger BrooklynGuy  approaches his wine picks for the holiday, “Keep it refreshing and lively, try to keep the alcohol to a minimum.” His logic being that family gatherings can already be teetering on the edge, no reason to pour gasoline on the fire.

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